PA-Gov: In Major Development, PSEA Backs McCord

Rob McCord
Rob McCord

Pennsylvania’s largest teacher’s union – and one of the state’s most prominent unions overall – threw its support behind State Treasurer Rob McCord.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, represents nearly 180,000 current and former teachers.

It has the largest Pa. membership of any labor union to endorse in the primary thus far. Only the statewide AFL-CIO and SEIU are larger.

“Pennsylvanians, educators, and the students we serve deserve better than what we’ve gotten from Tom Corbett, and Rob McCord is the candidate who is ready to hit the ground running to meet those needs,” said PSEA President Mike Crossey.

The union’s political arm PSEA-PACE refers to its endorsement as a “recommendation.” It doesn’t necessarily come with campaign cash directly to the candidate (for example, the union backed Dan Onorato in March 2010 but didn’t contribute to his campaign until after the primary). But it does come with significant support: pro-McCord mailers and phone calls, paid for by PSEA-PACE, will go to every one of its members across the state.

Virtually all of the Democrats running to unseat Governor Tom Corbett align with PSEA’s stance on the issues. For example, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has the backing of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, the second largest individual local teachers union in Pa.

McCord’s longstanding relationships with leaders and the perception that he is the more electable primary contender convinced the union to make an endorsement, sources close to the decision said.

“Pennsylvania public education rescued me when I was a kid. My mom brought my brother and me to Pennsylvania as children specifically because of the great public schools we could attend,” said McCord, repeating a common theme from the campaign. “I owe much of my success to Pennsylvania educators and to the PSEA members who are supporting me today.”

21 Responses

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  2. moderatemel-
    Yes she does. Philly sucks at turnout.
    Philly % turnout will be something like 25% (about Dem 160,000 voters). Not all will even cast a vote for Gov race (undervote). So, figure 150,000 votes out of Philly. If Allyson gets 30% and next candidate gets 25%, that’s only a net of 7,500 out of Philly.

    Allegheny will contribute 130,000 Dem votes and any gains Allyson made in Philly will be swamped by her losses there, where she won’t even get 20%.

    McGinty is a woman too.

    I wouldn’t assume Schwartz’s campaign consultants know much at all. Their strategy so far as been to declare and coronate her the winner beforehand and scare off the other candidates from running.
    Doesn’t seem to be working.

  3. As a woman voter i will work hard to elect allyson it will be history in the making i think when woman voters see her on tv and what she has accomplished over her career none of the boys will stand a chance that said anybody is better than corbett

  4. @moderatemel —

    Schwartz’s campaign consultants know and have advised that she needs to get much more than 25% in not only Philadelphia, but also Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester counties. Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester will combine for more Democratic votes this year than Philadelphia.

    Schwartz probably will not win any other area of the state, and probably will not perform well most of those areas. So, unless Schwartz has very large margins in Philadelphia AND the surrounding counties (and remember, that margin will be eroded because McCord is from Montgomery County and likely will spend more $ on Philadelphia TV than Schwartz, McGinty is from Chester County, Wolf already is on network and cable in the Philadelphia market and likely will remain through the primary, and Hanger has an appeal to a certain number of SEPA voters — Rendell had far higher name ID and favorables than Casey and outspent Casey in the Philadelphia market, where Schwartz, at most, will spend the 3rd largest amount of $ in the Philadelphia market, far less than Wolf and less than McCord) she will have a hard time putting together enough votes to win based on her in other parts of the state.

    As I said before, though, 3 months is a long time, and many things can happen.

  5. Speaking as a former PSEA member, it appears McCord will continue to spend $1 billion on the 71% of failing charters and the 100% of failing cyber charters. How does this represent wise financial decision-making? Let’s start here. John Hanger’s position to de-fund failing experimental schools make more sense.

  6. Frank why do you say McCord as Treasurer “hasn’t done anything but put ads in newspapers”? What should he have been doing and that he hasn’t? In case you missed it here’s what he’s been up to as Treasurer:

    Reduced operating costs of the Treasurer’s office by 24%, shrank a bloated Treasury workforce by 19% and cut its “company car” automobile fleet by 22%, and now fewer people are working nearly 1,300 fewer hours of overtime – a 73% reduction.

    Improved investment returns on the states’ money from 8% to 13%. (That’s a big one)

    Took the PA 529 College Savings Program from 70% funded when he entered office in early 2009 ($400 million deficit) to 100% funded today. (That’s good for kids to go to school).

    Increased collections and increased the net revenue for the General Fund by $316 million. (That’s just found money from his team being more efficient and effective).

    And he took tough stands on the lottery sale (his refusal to pay state funds to the Corbett administration picked overseas buyer cratered the deal), the give-a-aways at DRPA, and against the Corbett stacked casino commission where he sued for his seat at the table to keep an eye on things as state treasurer.

    What has he done? What channel are you watching?

  7. Psea never backed Corbett for governor
    The average annuity in the teachers pension system is about $24,000, hardly lavish. McCord has business experience as well as political experience, something none of the other candidates really has.
    He is right on education, healthcare and labor issues.

  8. As a former PSEA member, I’d like to see other candidates spell out their positions on the 71% of charter schools which are failing the AYP “test.” John Hanger wants to de-fund failing charters and cyber charters(100 % fail the AYP) thus eliminating a $1 billion waste of taxpayer’s money. Let’s start here. Charter schools are the biggest threat to public education. Check out Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error. Do the other candidates want to stop this $1 billion diversion of tax dollars to these failing experimental schools or not?

  9. @david not a paid staffer just someone who thinks allyson would do a better job at governing pa i dont dislike mccord he just hasn’t done anything besides put ads in newspapers for unclaimed property.and he really dislikes corbett tell me why he is so great in your eyes and i might reconsider.

  10. John Hanger has said very clearly that the pension obligations must be honored. Period. I hope teachers consider seriously who to trust, a slick Wall Street type who has been wheeling and dealing in finances or a candidate who has clearly stated over and over again that unsuccessful charter schools will NOT be paid for by the taxpayers, has said the funding formula must change immediately, and state level of funding must be restored. Not only should teachers, and everyone else for that matter, be looking at who to elect as Governor but they had best be electing a General Assembly that will support the Governor! One person can not do this alone and if you think the current General Assembly is going to help a new governor fix this, think again!

  11. The key issue for the taxpayer is what is the deal on teacher pensions and health care? According to a NYTIMES story about a year back, pa pensions have been among the worst performers of all big state pension funds, largely due to a disproportionate amount going to hedge funds who get 2% of their allocated amount as annual fee plus 20% of any gains. Consequently, pa pensions are underfunded. The corruption in this system benefits both parties, hence the lack of discussion. There is a shortfall. Either retired teachers lose health care and pension income or taxpayers foot the bill and most taxpayers don’t have pensions or health care.

  12. As a former PSEA member, I believe John Hanger’s education positions are far stronger than any of the candidates. John Hanger actually proposes DE-FUNDING failing charter schools! Because 71% of charters are failing the AYP, we’d save $700 million. Another $300 million would be saved from de-funding the cyber-charter schools, all(100%) of which are failing the AYP. There is the $1 billion needed to replace Corbett’s $1 billion cut! As a former PSEA teacher, I am hoping lots of teachers follow the evidence and not their union on this one. Hanger would also save our defined benefit plan. PSEA once again chose the wrong candidate. Many teachers will be voting for John Hanger in spite of the union leadership!

  13. Rob-
    Frank does sound like a Schwartz staffer.

    I agree that it’s anybody’s game (well, anybody but Schwartz who is going to come in 3rd).

    McCord has made education a theme of his campaign since an event was I at before he formally announced. His personal story is ALL about how a good public education made him the man he is today. So, PSEA is very natural endorsement for him to get.

    Schwartz won’t get above 25% in any county outside of Philly.

  14. @frank —

    It is fine to support your preferred candidate, but the fact that you are absurdly pro-Schwartz and equally anti-McCord demonstrates your posts are pure advocacy and devoid of serious considered analysis. Real analysis involves considering things as they are, not as you want them to be.

    The winner of the Democratic primary will be McCord, Schwartz, or Wolf. McGinty has an outside shot, but she probably won’t have enough money to broadcast her message in a competitive and meaningful way. Neither McCord nor Wolf is a clear favorite, and each has his weaknesses. But let’s not have delusions on Schwartz being a clear favorite merely because she was the presumptive frontrunner in a few polls based solely on name ID and taken several months before any candidate aired any TV or radio ads.

    Be serious about Schwartz’s likely performance. Schwartz’s comparable margins in the Philadelphia media market will be nowhere near as big as Rendell’s margins against Casey in the 2002 primary. Rendell was incredibly well-known and popular in the Philadelphia media market, resulting in tremendous margins there. Schwartz will not have those margins, even get in her own congressional district. Rendell had larger margins in the suburban Philadelphia counties (Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, and Chester – and together, they will produce more votes than Philadelphia) than he did in Philadelphia itself. Schwartz’s margins certainly will be nowhere near that large in the suburban counties (most people in Delaware, Chester, and Bucks have no idea who Schwartz is). Other than the Squirrel Hill and Shadyside neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Allyson Schwartz will be crushed outside the Philadelphia media market.

    Schwartz, like McCord and Wolf, certainly has a chance to win. But more than three months before the primary, NOBODY is a clear favorite in the May 20 Democratic primary.

  15. Nice endorsement but still cant figure out why the residents of pa cant grasp mccord his name id is horrible for being treasure for 7 years and tom wolf is gonna hurt mccord real bad schwartz will win philly big just like rendell did its a uphill battle for mccord.

  16. As a PSEA member, congrats to McCord. I hate to think this but if he doesn’t win, how foolish will PSEA look. McCord is no sure thing. The race is wide open. I recommended PSEA stay out of the primary.

  17. Great job PSEA. Teachers need a Governor who will increase funding for public education instead of cutting funds. Rob McCord is not only a friend to teachers, but a friend to all Pennsylvanian’s. It’s time for Pennsylvania to elect a Governor who cares about people and Rob McCord is the candidate who can do it!

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